Monthly Archives: October 2013

Where Have I Been?

My friends and readers,

Once again, I have neglected the blog unintentionally due to several speaking engagements in Pennsylvania and all around the state of Virginia. I just completed 5 lectures in 3 days. It is such a pleasure to meet so many amazing and inspiring people.

Last month, Angela and I attended the World Parkinson’s Congress in Montreal, Canada. This amazing event brought 3500 researchers, doctors, and people with Parkinson’s disease together in one place. Montreal was lovely! I think what was most amazing to us was all the friends we ran into, who we hadn’t seen for many years. It started as a conference but in reality, for us, was a wonderful reunion!

The next Congress will be in Portland, Oregon. I hope to see you there!

Michael J. Fox’s Show Could Change Parkinson’s Disease Perception!

HBO’s In Treatment was the first series I have seen Parkinson’s Disease (PD) addressed in prime time television. Michael J. Fox takes PD somewhere it has never been, prime time on a non-cable network. To bring Parkinson’s to the forefront of the mainstream is both exciting and potentially dangerous. Fox has been an outstanding spokesman and keeper of the flame in the public eye. His voice and face have paved the way for many of us with young-onset, dispelling the myth that PD is just for the elderly.

Fox’s uncontrolled movements (known as dyskinesia which is a side effect from medication, not Parkinson’s) are often accentuated and initiated by stress (possibly added by being on camera)..I know because it happens to me!

The Michael J. Fox Show has a challenging responsibility to entertain about a not so entertaining illness. I personally would like to see the show strive to accomplish the following achievements:

  1. As a person living with Parkinson’s Disease since the age of 17 (over 30 years), I can admit that there are humorous moments to this not so laughable illness, but I hope not to see Parkinson’s used as a punch line.
  2. I hope the show doesn’t downplay the seriousness of this neurological disorder.
  3. PD gestures are not slapstick, not humorous, and not publicly understood, but might be understood with the show’s help.
  4. I see this show as a tool to educate, inform, and inspire the public to learn about the symptoms of PD, medicines and side effects, and make a call to the public that PD awareness and support is crucial to making strides in better treatments and an ultimate cure.
  5. TMJFS is a wonderful place to address the issue of caregiver burnout, family distress and learning to talk about illness, the role stress plays, and denial.

These are but a few of the topics I hope Fox considers to address in future episodes of his show. As important as it is to laugh, so is the need to responsibly educate and inform.

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